A year into its run, chef Francesco Torre has left Verace in Islip and the kitchen is now being run by corporate executive chef Cornelius Gallagher. Gallagher is in the Verace kitchen "five nights a week,” said Michael Bohlsen, owner of the Bohlsen Restaurant Group, which also includes Tellers in Islip, Beachtree in East Islip, Prime in Huntington and H2O in Smithtown.
Torre, a native of Tuscany who had cooked in Italy and in Napa, was key in creating Verace’s “true Italian” concept. (“Verace” means “truthful” in Italian.) Portions tended toward the small-plate variety; the original idea was that diners would compose a dinner from three (or four or five) small plates.
According to Michael Bohlsen, the menu isn’t being changed so much as expanded. “Verace was built to be a restaurant that you could go to a few times a week. And we have a significant client base that is looking for a broader menu.”
The new menu will include, for the first time, double-size portions of pasta and more and larger main courses. “You’ll be able to create the dining experience you’re looking for, whether authentic Italian, or a more traditional Italian-American.”
When I talked to him, Torre conceded that he felt uncomfortable overseeing the larger menu. “What I like, “ he said, “is a menu of about 30 items—local, seasonal, organic—that change often.” He is currently in talks to be the executive chef at a new restaurant, and he promised to get in touch when he opens it.
Verace is at 599 Main St., Islip, 631-277-3800.